Job Title : CIO

Organization : Co-operative Group and Co-operative Financial Services

What they say about him: “He has managed to succeed where many group CIOs have failed and has created a real role with teeth. He nurtures and develops good talent and he’s a ‘proper’ board member, contributing to every aspect of their diverse portfolio of businesses, not just piping up when it’s a technology issue.”

Gerry Pennell joined Co-operative Financial Services in 2003 after setting up, running and then decommissioning the entire technology operations for the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

Pennell quickly rose from director of ICT development and delivery and then IT director for CFS to become CIO of the Co-operative Group – which also includes its grocery stores, travel and pharmacy businesses – in 2005.

As CIO Pennell has led the integration of the previously separate IT departments for the banking and insurance businesses and also for the non-financial services parts of the business. He also outsourced the CFS development function to Xansa this year in a deal valued at more than £100m.

Pennell began his career in software development after a mathematics degree and then joined Barclays Bank as a project manager in data communications. After moving up at Barclays to a role in business planning and product management for electronic banking and global payments, he joined Price Waterhouse (now PwC), working on IT strategy projects in financial services, including a number of post-merger integration programmes.

Pennell is also a non-executive director for UK IT body the National Computing Centre in Manchester.